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February 14, 2019 02:32 PM UTC

Trump to Declare Wall Emergency; Gardner Looks Silly (Again)

  • by: Colorado Pols
“Wall, wall, wall. Wall.”

As the Washington Post reports, President Trump is expected to sign compromise legislation preventing another government shutdown…but he’s also going to declare a “national emergency” so that he can siphon off more money for his big ol’ border wall:

President Trump is prepared to sign a massive spending and border security deal, while at the same time declaring a national emergency to get more money to build his border wall, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Thursday.

McConnell made the announcement on the Senate floor, and told senators to prepare to vote shortly on the legislation that would stave off a government shutdown Friday at midnight.

“The president will sign the bill. We’ll be voting on it shortly,” McConnell said.

McConnell also said he’d told the president he would support the emergency declaration, which would allow the president to circumvent Congress and use the military to build his wall. McConnell has voiced opposition for weeks to the idea of Trump declaring a national emergency. [Pols emphasis]

This is a pretty abrupt change from McConnell, and as you’ll see in a moment, it appears to be a surprise to other Republicans like Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma).  Earlier today, Gardner appeared with Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver) for an interview with Ryan Warner of Colorado Public Radio. This exact topic was the first item of discussion:

WARNER: Senator Gardner, let’s do a reality check here. Congress controls the purse strings for the most part. Is it realistic for the President to get the wall built without Congress?

GARDNER: Well, again, you’d have to check the legal authorities that might be there, but I don’t think he should do anything without Congress’ approval. It’s important for Congress to have the appropriate oversight. That’s why this deal is, I think, a compromise that he will sign. I believe he will. Nancy Pelosi said she would not allow one dollar to go to the barrier, barriers on the border. President Trump said he wanted $5.7 billion, and this is a reasonable path forward allowing the government to maintain itself in operation while also providing border security.

WARNER: So how do you get the message to him perhaps that you don’t want him to declare a national emergency, as has been hinted, or raid other funds for this?

GARDNER: Well, it’s pretty simple. I can tell him that in person, that I think Congress needs to do its job.

WARNER: Have you done that?

GARDNER: I have.

WARNER: Alright.

Look who got stuck holding the bag.


Gardner hasn’t missed many opportunities to lavish praise on President Trump lately, perhaps in part because Colorado Republicans remain oddly enamored with the big orange guy (unfortunately for Gardner, the rest of Colorado disagrees with both Trump and his wall).

Just last month, Gardner became one of the first high-profile Republicans to officially endorse Trump’s re-election campaign, which earned him a Presidential Tweet. But when it comes down to policy issues, for everything from a border wall to North Korea, Trump has no problem stepping over Gardner.

Politically-speaking, this could soon get much worse for Gardner and friends. As CNN noted earlier this week, the “national emergency” approach has long terrified Congressional Republicans:

That’s because doing so could set off a chain of events on Capitol Hill that risks splitting the Republican conference, undercutting other parts of Trump’s agenda and likely opening the administration’s actions to legal challenges. It would also provide a clarifying moment that Republicans on the Hill have managed to avoid since Trump took office — casting an up or down vote on whether to build the full-scale wall Trump desires.

According to federal law, Congress can rescind a presidential emergency declaration by passing a joint resolution. In the likely event that such a bill would be vetoed by the President, Congress could then override it with a two-thirds majority in the Senate and the House.

The danger to congressional Republicans isn’t having to overcome a presidential veto, but in having to vote on the resolution itself. Any such measure would be considered privileged — if, for example, the House passed it then the Senate would be required by law to vote on the measure within 18 days. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would be powerless to stop a floor vote.

Gardner says that he has told Trump directly that he disagrees with a “national emergency” declaration — which didn’t seem to make any difference to Trump. Gardner might soon have to cast a vote on this very issue, which will most certainly make a difference with Colorado voters in 2020.

Loyalty has its price. When it comes to Gardner and Trump, only one person appears to be making any payments.


10 thoughts on “Trump to Declare Wall Emergency; Gardner Looks Silly (Again)

  1. The emergency powers of the presidency need to be curtailed. Not just because of this president, but because the executive branch has become too powerful even under presidents I largely agree with.

    Part of this is congress being unable to legislate or unwilling to take political chances. It is easier to fail to act and then complain about how whoever is president using an executive order rather than attaching a vote to a compromise.

    As for how to solve this.. I have no idea.

    1. On a related, but different, topic I really think that there needs to be a constitutional amendment to limit all presidents on their authority to grant pardons. Perhaps taking it away entirely and giving it to something like a pardons board.

      At the very least presidents should not have the power to give pardons to themselves, family members, VPs, people they have appointed to governmental positions, and people who have done political or business favors for the president. The power to do that should be given to Congress in some fashion. The political quid pro quo or at least the appearance of corruption caused by pardons of rich donors to political parties was an outrage even before this president raised the prospect of a president using the pardon power to directly benefit himself.

  2. There literally is always a tweet with this guy.

    1. Not so fast there, ajb. Many of those R seats up for re-election next year are in deep red states. Still an uphill battle for the Dems to take back the Senate. But chances improve as the "dumpster fire" that is the Trump administration continues to flame higher. All bets are off if the Ds nominate a hard core lefty to be their presidential nominee.

      1. Your definition of a "hard core lefty" is what makes you irrelevant.

        'Conservative" is one of the greatest misnomers perpetrated on the American people.

         "Conservatives" …which you are not and never were…have damn near destroyed this country. Galbraith had it right.

        It is time now, since you only care about things that are of benefit to you, for the rest of humanity to make sure that nothing is of benefit to you.

        The Republican party…the party of greed and selfishness… has signed its own death certificate. Though the Republicans thought Trump would give them permanent control, he will bring them to ruin. There is no "Republican " party…just T***plicans and a bunch of losers who let it happen.

        The entire "conservative" power structure is inhumane and no longer viable. Get ready to occupy the dustbin of history.

  3. It will be interesting to see WHAT emergency powers are proclaimed and, even more, what money is grabbed away from something THOUGHT to be important at appropriations time and diverted to "The Wall."

  4. There is a humanitarian crisis at several points on the border – 30 kids in cages designed for 15; 2000 migrant people fenced in in las Piedras, Mexico, rioting after being denied ability to apply for asylum. (From All In America Live on the Border, Chris Hayes  Special  on the real state of the border. Really excellent reporting, well worth watching)

    But the suffering of migrant families is not Trump’s “emergency”…he’s probably looking for another pot of money to dip into, another scam or hustle to run.  

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